Dr. Hillel D. Braude

Dr. Hillel D. Braude


Dr. Hillel D. Braude


Dr. Hillel D. Braude directs research at the Mifne Center. He has a medical degree from the University of Cape Town Medical School and a Ph.D. (cum laude) in philosophy of medicine and medical ethics from The University of Chicago. He is the author of Intuition in Medicine: A Philosophical Defense of Clinical Reasoning (The University of Chicago Press, 2012). Hillel also works as a Feldenkrais practitioner with infants, children, and adults.


Title: Repetitive and Stereotyped Movements in Infants with Autism Spectrum Disorder: Intentionality, Cognition and Affect

Braude, H.,1(Presenter), Alonim, H., 1,2,  Scheingezicht,G.,2

The Mifne Center1, Bar Ilan University2

Background: Repetitive and stereotyped behaviors comprise one component of the core clinical symptoms associated with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), besides impairment in communication and social interaction. The presence of repetitive motor behaviors beyond two years of age may be indicative of ASD. However, the relation of motor stereotypies in infants with ASD is not yet well understood.

Aim(s): This study aims to analyze stereotyped motor behaviors in infants who received treatment for autism during their first two years of life.

Methods: A retrospective video analysis of infants between the ages of 6-18 months who received an intensive three-week treatment intervention for ASD. Video material is derived from home videos during the infants’ first year of life, and video recordings of treatment sessions using Reciprocal Play Therapy (RPT). Coding of stereotyped movements is based on Esther Thelen’s taxonomy of 47 repetitive behaviors, modified by Alvin Loh et al. for analysis of infants with autism. Particular movements, such as hand flexion and extension, are additionally evaluated in terms of the apparent intention of the infant in the context of daily action. Mapping particular stereotypical movements in relation to the rest of the body is evaluated in terms of human movement notation.

Results: The results of this study are presented in terms of quantification of stereotyped movements, the relation of the movement to intentionality of action, and the relation of the movement to the core bodily self. Together, these three forms of data provide material for a phenomenological (theoretically neutral) analysis of repetitive and stereotyped behaviors in infants with ASD.

Conclusions: A predominant conception relates stereotyped movements to attentional disengagement, and deficits in executive functioning. The findings from this study suggests that repetitive behaviors and stereotyped movements in infants with ASD should be analyzed in terms of the constellation of intentionality of movement, joint attention, cognition and affect. While motoric stereotypies may appear purposeless, their careful evaluation in context of daily life and therapeutic intervention may provide insight into their neuropsychological function.

Format of Presentation: Oral Presentation. Video clips will be included of infants receiving the therapeutic intervention.

Address for Correspondence: The Mifne Center, POB 112, Rosh Pinna, 12000. Email: info at mifne-autism.com